Sunday, April 09, 2017

The Accountant


2016, US, directed by Gavin O'Connor


Monday, April 03, 2017

Eyes in the Night

1942, US, directed by Fred Zinnemann

An early Zinnemann, featuring a blind detective and his duo of assistants -- one canine, one wisecracking 1940s character actor -- solving a very of-its-time wartime murder caper with a dash of Nazi spy intrigue. Despite the unusual detective trio, there's little memorable on offer here -- this looks and feels like a straightforward programmer.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Inferno


2016, US, directed by Ron Howard

Seen on an airplane journey, and awful on every level.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tumultes


1932, France/Germany, directed by Robert Siodmak

The French-language version of Siodmak's Stürme der Leidenschaft, starring Charles Boyer rather than Emil Jannings. This is very early Siodmak, though it has some of the darkness and melancholy of the American films that brought him to greatest prominence in the 1940s, and it shows that he was already an assured hand with narrative. Visually, it's not overly distinctive, though several brief passages in the final third are more obviously Siodmakian. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Jigsaw


1962, UK, directed by Val Guest

Like Hell is a City, another Val Guest picture, this time a more straightforward procedural, with Jack Warner playing the lead detective (he’s already well advanced in years here – it must have been hard to sell him as an active detective in 1976, at the tail end of Dixon of Dock Green). While the narrative is more straightforward than the earlier film, the action is no less engaging, with a methodical exploration and elimination of leads, and an intriguing depiction of the back-streets of Brighton and surrounds – not quite the seamy side, but also something just a little short of respectability. It’s also very much in the Law & Order mode of police stories, resolutely focused on the professional rather than the personal lives of the cops (they mention offscreen lives but that’s about it). 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Logan


2017, US, directed by James Mangold

Sunday, March 19, 2017

It Always Rains On Sunday


1947, UK, directed by Robert Hamer

An atypically downbeat Ealing film, set over the course of the titular day with some brief flashbacks, and centered on a manhunt/criminal back on his home turf. The picture of British domesticity is very carefully and precisely undercut, with the crowded London streets seen to harbor a good deal more than they seem, while the East End’s market-sellers and Jewish businessmen (both legitimate and somewhat less legitimate) get an extended onscreen airing. Unlike in Hell is a City, which I watched immediately before this, there is a certain air of doomed romance, and while some commentators link that atmosphere to pre-war French films, I thought it equated at least as closely with some of the cynicism and sourness of immediate post-war French film.  

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States